I just wanted to say

The last three years have been both a sorrow and a joy. My marriage ending, and with it the promise of forever, has been the sorrow. The fear was, I had taken something away from the people I loved most, that I had failed. With this sense of failure came anger and resentment. Two emotions that want to devour all that is good and noble in us. I didn’t want to heal myself, to move on, to grieve. I wanted to wallow in it. My ego was threatened and needed to be proved right. I allowed something beautiful to slip through my fingers.

The joy has been to see all three of us, Stella, Lindsay, and I begin to grow, in small ways and large, that have transformed that promise of forever. I have begun to grieve the loss of something I held dear, and with grieving, the clouds are parting. Exposing my ego to light has stopped the festering of not only the wound of this failure, but, hopefully, old wounds that have caused harm to many relationships.

The constellation of “We Three” spinning through the cosmos still exists. It has merely changed into something different. Something bigger. Other stars have, and will, join its orbit. The dance will continue with a new promise. The marriage may have ended, but that hasn’t changed the love that we give Stella or our ability to nurture her.

There is a center to this new constellation.

Stella.

Her light will always shine brighter than all the others.

This past summer has seen a burst of growth for her. She has become more confident emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Curiosity abounds and compassion flourishes. Mornings start with a smile and she walks with joy throughout the day.

“Dad.”

“Yes, sweet.”

“I just wanted to say I love you.”

This simple dialogue which occurs daily, at such random moments, is a constant reminder of the light that is within her and her ability to be in the moment, recognize it and express her delight in the purest way.

I’ve also experienced some growth this past summer. I’m learning to let go of resentment and shame through compassion and self care. Stella is showing me how to walk with joy and to allow myself to be in the world again. To embrace the moment with a sense of wonder and delight.

To all the stars in my constellation,

big and small,

near and far,

old and new,

“I just wanted to say I love you.”

Love

Stella is 4 now and my love for her grows with each passing day.  She is the light of my life, always reminding me of how all-encompassing love can be.

Love

When she’s sick, how all my thoughts turn to her.  How can I bring her comfort and relief?  A piece of my hearts aches each time she gets hurt, both physically and emotionally.  To tell her it will all be ok.  To feed her soul as much as I nourish her body.

I feel as though I am lying sometimes.  Life can be brutish and cruel.  It isn’t always full of ease.

I have had a hard road of it at times.  The path I am presently on is not easy and I find myself walking through some dark woods.  Each day I try to find my bearings.  I try to cut my way through the emotional and spiritual bullshit that has built up over a lifetime.  These are woods i have helped create.

But…

There is light shining through and it’s not all darkness and grief.  I’m slowly eliminating the rot, clearing the undergrowth, and discovering that there is a way out.  That way is ultimately lit by love.  The love that I have for a child and the love she returns to me tenfold.  The love I can rediscover for myself through forgiveness and integrity.  The love I have for a woman, that runs deep, that grounds me.  The love my Higher Power has always had.

Love conquers all?  I’d like to believe that.  I do know that love is the balm that heals all and it comes to us in many forms.  I’ve been cut, scraped and bruised in my walk through life, but I will keep walking because the promise of life, the balm of love is ever-present.

Stella sleeps in the other room, surrounded by light and love.  The healing has begun.

Dreamer

As Stella gets older I sometimes think back to my childhood.  The very young years are often a blur.  I do remember feeling loved and safe and being filled with wonder.  My earliest memory is from about four years old, I would guess, and I am in the front room of the first house I lived in, a second floor, three bedroom apartment in Brooklyn.  There were seven of us kids along with my parents who converted what would have been the living room into their bedroom.  I had to learn to share space at a very young age and didn’t have a room of my own until I was seventeen.

We called the front room the porch, partly because it was where we played and partly because it had a bunch of windows that opened up to the street below.  It seemed airy and light to me.

The memory is of my mother and one of my brothers, Greg I think, and myself, at night.  The windows were open so it must have been summer.  Sometimes we kids would lay blankets down on the parquet floors and sleep out there because the cool night air seemed to circulate better than in the small windowed bedrooms.  My Mom was sitting in a chair and my brother and I were looking out a window at the few stars that could be seen in the nighttime sky of the city.  He was pointing out the big dipper.  The memory fills me with a feeling of contentment and a sense of wonder.

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adventures in slumberland –

 

It is nearly fifty years on and now and again I look up at the stars and think back upon that earliest memory and wonder.  How did I get from there to here?  Why so many twists and turns along the way?  Have I always been looking up, head in the clouds, unable, at times, to navigate life on solid ground?

One of my nicknames as a child was Drew, the Dreamer.  I was off in my own little world.  Not sure who pinned that on me but I’d like to think it was my mother, that she saw in me an ethereal quality that has been both a burden and a blessing.  A burden, because at times, I’m often not present, and a blessing, because at other times, I’ve felt connected to the intricate web of life.  The mystery behind the curtain.

As William Blake said, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”

I can be a pragmatist when it is warranted. Get things done. The Pragmatist can help clear a path to the doors.

But the Dreamer.

Well.

The Dreamer can wipe away the dust.

Here and Now

I can’t sleep. Awake at four in the morning with a thousand thoughts running through my brain.  The sunrise is on fire.    The cat has finally settled down from his middle of the night acrobatics and is nuzzling my arm. Today will be Stella -Daddy day with Lindsay working in the studio, probably late into the night.

The thousand thoughts, full of “shoulds” and “whens” and “what ifs” will try to take hold of my day, but being with Stella, the power of Here and Now will overtake the thoughts, if I let it, and my day will be preserved for an eternity.

So.  I drink my coffee and let the thoughts have their way.  She’ll be awake soon and I will be closer to serenity.image

Three Years On

I remember that day at the hospital three years ago. The day Stella was born and my life changed forever. That was the day I became a father and the depth of what that means has grown immensely.

My father wasn’t bad, just absent. He rarely engaged in “normal” parental activities. As an adult I realized that he probably did the best he could with what he learned from his father. Despite all his shortcomings as a father I always felt love. Unconditional love. He would admonish, but at the end of the day and at the end of his life, he encouraged me to follow my dreams and find joy.

That lesson has served me well. I know I have stumbled along my path. But that path has led me to an amazing wife and magical daughter. Love has been my guiding principle in being a father. It has served me well.

Happy Birthday Stella Lu! Three years on.

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We Three

I just carried Stella off to bed.  The house is quiet except for the sound of rain and the new kitten, probably up to no good.  My wife, Lindsay, is at the studio, finishing off her weekly studio time.  She goes to the studio for three days while I’m off from my job and usually works at least ten to twelve hours each of those days.  It can be hard on all of us. The time apart.  But it’s essential to our future.  I may be biased, but Lindsay is an amazing artist and has found success here in town and will no doubt garner a larger audience.  I have always believed this.

We Three

We three.  Sometimes apart, but always together.

Stella will ask for Mamma during this time, but knows that she will come back. She says the same thing of me when I’m gone.  I know that she’s not confused by the time apart.  She trusts us to return.  She trusts us to protect her.  There’s a bond of trust we have tried it instill in her that will not be broken or diminished. I lose count of the number of times she says,” Daddy.  I love you.” And gives me a hug.  And each time it melts my heart.  Each time it’s a confirmation of that trust.

We three.  As if we found long lost friends and will never let go.

If she wakes in the night, Lindsay will go to her room and scoop her up in her arms and bring her back to our bed.  We have a full size bed.  Pretty small even for two and as Stella grows and the addition of a cat, things can get pretty crowded.  

I dont mind though.  In fact, I love it!  I’ve never felt so connected to two other beings.  ( The jury is still out on Gyp, the cat, who still wakes me rather early with a pounce and a nibble to the chin ).  The love I feel when I wake in the morning far outweighs the sore back.  

We three.  Sitting up in bed together preparing to face the day.  

I will go off to work in the morning and there will be Mamma – Stella day.  My time apart will begin.  I will be filled in on the days events, the moments missed, the milestones reached.  My body will be somewhere else but my heart will be with them.  

We three.  We are like the spokes of a wheel, inexorably linked, and spinning through time.  

 

 

 

 

No Name

We have a new cat. A kitten. Who has figured out that I am the human most likely to awaken if gnawed on at 5:30 AM. He has figured out that my proclivity to wake early these days and my body’s need to use the bathroom are optimal opportunity to get fed and play.

My insistence on not getting another cat has been undermined by my wife Lindsay’s ability to recruit Stella to her cause for getting one. I couldn’t say no to a two and a half year olds sweet plea, “They’re so cute!”

They are indeed.

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This little fellow joined our household a little over a week ago after some especially difficult, nightmare filled nights for Stella. I could no longer fight the inevitable and the time seemed right for a breath of new energy for us all.

When asking her what the kitty’s name is, her answer, “It’s a boy.” She points out, ” Two girls and two boys now, Daddy.”

I have achieved a balance of gender equality here on the home-front.

Thanks for the company little guy. I’ll see you bright and early.

One year later …

I had just about given up on this blog and the more time that passed between posts the more I convinced myself that there was no way I could catch up on all the events that had happened over the past year.  Let it go, I thought, and let it remain what it was, the meanderings a of a man surprised by joy.

But …

Waking early, before wife and daughter, has once again become the pattern.  So I sit, for awhile, read the news of the day, drink my coffee and think.  I received an email the other day reminding me that my domain name renewal is coming up and for a moment considered letting it expire, but my ego got the best of me and being a father at fifty,  one of a growing demographic,  I’ve decided to hang on to it a little longer.

My light
My light

 

A year has passed since my last post and the temptation to fill in the blanks is strong.  I won’t though.  They’ll fill themselves in as needed if I become more consistent with this thing.  My wife and daughter remain the light in my life and the serenity of the morning envelopes my heart.

Unconditional

It’s been a long time since my last post and my little girl is growing up.  Much has unfolded since the beginning of the year and Stella is approaching the two-year mark.  That in itself is hard to fathom.  I still look at her and can hardly believe I have a child.

So, I present a laundry list of events, in no particular order, of the last seven months.

I turned fifty-one, drawing with friendswhich sort of invalidates the title of this blog, but time obliterates all things.  Yes? This year i felt my mortality more than last which has resulted in some angst filled nights.

 

 

 

 

Little Trooper

 

Stella had a second medical procedure.  She had a growth removed from her leg, which we had been monitoring since birth.  It was a subcutaneous hemangioma, as suspected, but now confirmed. Totally benign.  And of course it was stressful as she had to go under general anesthesia for the second time.  She was a trooper and was anxious to get back on her feet within hours.  She now has a cool scar to intimidate the other toddlers she runs with.

By the Sea

 

Stella got to fly on an airplane for the first time and did great.We took a trip to Los Angeles, our first vacation in four years and stayed with friends who made us feel at home.  Stella squealed with joy at her first visit to the ocean.  The first of many I hope.

 

 

 

We had to say goodbye to our cat, Baby, who got ill again but with no chance of recovery, we put her down and will sorely miss her magical presence in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Stella Lu

Each day brings new milestones and Stella moves from being a toddler to becoming a little girl, her personality shining through.  She arranges her stuffed animals around her to sing or draw.  She calls out from her bedroom, “Daddy!  Where are you!”  She runs  to the front door when she hears the key turning in the lock and she knows Mommy’s home.  She now finds things amusing and laughs and shrieks with joy.  She pouts when she wants something she can’t have and gets over it as quickly as it first caught her fancy.  She’s affectionate, especially with other children and waves hello to the people we pass on the street.

Stella has taught me so much over the past seven months.  Courage to face the next challenge.  Finding joy in the simplest of pleasures.  Living in the moment and shedding the cares of the world.  But mostly, she has to me how to love deeper than ever before. Unconditionally and pure.

 

 

Tears

It’s 5 AM and I’m sitting up in bed having my first sip of coffee. I haven’t had much sleep, maybe four hours. I worked last night. Lindsay, who’s asleep next to me, has probably had less since she’s been up and down with Stella through the night. Stuffy, runny nose. 20121205-195906.jpgStella is scheduled for a fairly routine outpatient procedure to unblock a tear duct, but it does involve her being under general anesthesia for 10 to 15 minutes, which is the part that scares the hell out if me.

The procedure is considered elective at this point since it hasn’t caused any major problems other than perpetual tears running down the right side of her face. Blocked tear ducts are fairly common in babies and usually rights itself by one year. Her left eye is fine and has been for some time and though there has been very little infection in the right eye, which we’ve been able to treat with a simple antibiotic ointment, it could get worse and cause more problems. Problem is that the longer we wait the chance of infections increases and the success rate of unblocking on the first try decreases.

I’m afraid this father thing will never get easy. This feeling that your child is so vulnerable. So utterly dependent on your decisions.

It’s 8 AM and the anesthesiologist has signed off on the procedure. Her oxygen levels and heart rate is great. Lindsay is going in with Stella to be with her when they put her under but has to leave and wait with me until they’re done. It will be the longest 10 or 15 minutes ever. Lindsay’s mom has come done to be with us.

Lindsay tells us that Stella put up a struggle and started crying when they put the mask on and she was clinging to her but she finally goes to sleep. Tough little girl.

It’s about 10 minutes when the doctor comes out to us. We can’t tell anything from his expression. Lindsay asks if everything is ok and he smiles and says it went great. They’re waking her up and we can go see her shortly. He goes over what we need to do and we go in to get her. She’s crying, of course, but settles down quickly. Her right eye is goofy from medication but she looks great and is thirsty and tired.

It went great and I can feel my body relax knowing she’s ok. We’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to know for sure if was a success.

As the day goes in she rests a lot and is extra cuddly and all looks to be well. I love this little girl more than anything in the world.